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RIAA, Safenet Sued For Malicious Prosecution 337

Posted by kdawson
from the what-goes-around dept.
DaveAtFraud writes "Tanya Anderson, the single mother from Oregon previously sued by the RIAA — which dropped the case just before losing a summary judgement — is now suing the RIAA and their hired snoop Safenet for malicious prosecution. (Safenet was formerly known as MediaSentry.) Anderson is asserting claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act. A reader at Groklaw has already picked up that she is seeking to have the RIAA forfeit the copyrights in question as part of the settlement (search the page for '18.6-7')."
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RIAA, Safenet Sued For Malicious Prosecution

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  • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Monday June 25, 2007 @08:37PM (#19643575)
    Does she seriously expect the courts to award such a devastating judgement against one of the richest IP holding organizations in the country?
  • Hope she has money (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ducomputergeek (595742) on Monday June 25, 2007 @08:42PM (#19643631)
    Because I think the RIAA can afford to keep this in legal limbo land for a while. Even so, it's nice to see someone go after the RIAA on RICO because there have been instances where they have crossed lines in my opinion. That being said, giving up the copyrights aren't going to happen because the RIAA doesn't hold them. They just represent the folks who do.

    What really needs to happen is to get a couple of the hawkish Attourny Generals, like NY's, involved and looking into the RIAA's actions. They, actually, have some power to do something about the RIAA's tactics.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday June 25, 2007 @08:46PM (#19643667) Homepage
      Hope she sets up a place where people can donate cash for the fight.

      I'll give $10.00 to anyone that sues the RIAA about their mafia tactics.

      I am sure another 10,000 people would do the same and yes a hundred grand will go a long way in fighting organized crime like the RIAA.
      • by westlake (615356)
        I'll give $10.00 to anyone that sues the RIAA about their mafia tactics.
        I am sure another 10,000 people would do the same and yes a hundred grand will go a long way in fighting organized crime like the RIAA.

        I am sure there is a lawyer who will take your money - and "take" seems the appropriate word here. Judges - appellate judges - do not throw around words like "organized crime" as carelessly as the geek.

      • by Myopic (18616)
        ...and your ten dollars will purchase three and three quarters minutes of a lawyer's time
      • by Esteanil (710082)
        I'm in
    • by Zironic (1112127) on Monday June 25, 2007 @08:47PM (#19643677)
      She's not going after RIAA as such, she's going after everyone that makes up the RIAA, read the article: "Atlantic, Priority Records, Capitol Records, UMG and BMG -- the RIAA itself, the Settlement Support Center, and SafeNet" It looks like she plans to sue them to hell and beyond for all kinds of illegal behavior when it comes to how they handled the case against her.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by westlake (615356)
        She's not going after RIAA as such, she's going after everyone that makes up the RIAA, read the article: "Atlantic, Priority Records, Capitol Records, UMG and BMG -- the RIAA itself, the Settlement Support Center, and SafeNet"

        I'll take it as a general rule that it is better to go into court with a rifle than a shotgun.

        Malice - in the legal sense - can be damn hard to prove.

        • by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot&castlesteelstone,us> on Monday June 25, 2007 @09:31PM (#19644079) Homepage Journal
          I'll take it as a general rule that it is better to go into court with a rifle than a shotgun.

          Nope. It's better go in with a shotgun and a carton of videotape. Rifles are for D.A's, programmers, and writers. When you're wronged, you want to slap as many people as you can.
          • by westlake (615356)
            When you're wronged, you want to slap as many people as you can.

            It is often the attorney's job to tell you that what can be done is not what you want to do. The D.A. choses the rifle because he is paid to hit the target - not stroke his client's ego.

    • by rossz (67331)
      It was Atlantic Records who originally sued her and that's who she is suing back. They most definitely do hold a shitload of copyrights.

      You should RTFA.
  • by badfrog (45310) on Monday June 25, 2007 @08:49PM (#19643695)
    I was wondering how long it would be before someone brought the RICO act into this. It's what finally stopped DirecTV from suing everyone that bought a Smartcard reader.
    • by ad0le (684017) on Monday June 25, 2007 @08:57PM (#19643767)
      Keep in mind, in civil cases (such as this one), there are many hurdles in obtaining a judgment in correlation with the RICO act. Point being, it's not that easy. The RIAA is more concerned with their technique for accusing people remaining legally sound than being pummeled with a RICO civil case.
  • by Rotworm (649729) on Monday June 25, 2007 @08:55PM (#19643753) Homepage Journal
    The article reads the RIAA would lose the rights [groklaw.net], not the copyrights.
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      Yeah, unless Copyright Abuse was one of the charges, I fail to see how it would be usual to forfeit copyrights.

      It's a nice thought though.

      • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Monday June 25, 2007 @10:42PM (#19644643) Journal
        ... unless Copyright Abuse was one of the charges, I fail to see how it would be usual to forfeit copyrights.

        Given that Count 13 IS "Misuse of Copyright Laws" and, in that count, paragraph 18.6 claims "Such actions constitute a misuse of copyrights, and lead to a forfeiture of the exclusive rights granted to defendants by these laws." I'd say the conditions you ask for are met.

        "Who shall watch the watchers?" is a problem posed millennia ago. In the case of police violating the fourth and fifth amendments, the answer the courts found was: "If you cops/prosecutors break the law in collecting evidence for a case, all that evidence - and all evidence collected as a result of it - is thrown out. Keep YOUR act clean or you lose the case."

        Similarly congress has said: "Copyright gives you certain exclusive rights for a (long) time. It's hard to play 'whack a mole' with all the infringers, so we're giving you draconian penalties to make an example of those you do catch, to make examples of them and scare off others. If you misuse these rights, you lose them - not just for THAT case, but FOREVER."

        If the court rules "You misuse the copyrights, you lose the copyrights" it will, IMHO, be correctly interpreting the law. Setting up a situation where the RIAA and its members get judgments when they go after a real copyright violator but lose the copyright on the songs involved if they maliciously or negligently prosecute an innocent non-violator would create a DANDY incentive for the RIAA to abandon its reign of terror and do their best to be squeaky-clean on any cases they pursue.
  • One possibility (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BCW2 (168187) on Monday June 25, 2007 @09:24PM (#19644009) Journal
    As many have already said this will be very expensive. What if the idea is to start the suit with lots of publicity and then get others to join and gain class action status? The more that the tactics get exposed to the public the better chance of an outcry getting relief for everyone. It really boils down to a publicity fight. If people believe that the RIAA is defending artists they like then the real issues won't matter. Convince them that making a mix tape of any music might get you prosecuted and things change. Education of the masses is the only way to solve the problem.
    • by westlake (615356)
      What if the idea is to start the suit with lots of publicity and then get others to join and gain class action status?

      It can be really, really, difficult to successfully frame a lawsuit as a class action.

  • ...that they don't lose this case. Having it on record as being successfully prosecuted under RICO would solidify and make official their reputation as a criminal organisation.

    It would also be a major victory for piracy in general, because it would mean that if the RIAA want to call pirates criminals, the playing field would then be level...which would also make the RIAA hypocrites.
  • by Animats (122034) on Monday June 25, 2007 @10:03PM (#19644345) Homepage

    I just read through the filing. The RIAA is in big trouble here.

    Most of the facts in the case have already been litigated, and the RIAA lost. The counterclaims arise from facts already on the record. The RIAA's actions are a matter of public record. And they did a whole range of things ranging from really dumb to possibly criminal.

    First, their investigation unit, SafeNet/MediaSentry, isn't a licensed private investigator. So they don't have any of the immunities a private investigator does. Normally, law firms use licensed private investigators for their investigations, but the RIAA didn't bother. Bad move.

    Second, there's a clear case for fraudulent debt collection. It's already been established in court that the RIAA's claims were false, and that they knew they were false, yet they continued collection efforts.

    On the harassment front, the RIAA's representatives apparently attempted to contact a 10 year old child's elementary school under false pretenses, pretending to be a grandparent. The court had to issue a protective order prohibiting the RIAA from contacting the kid. That's going to be tough to explain to a jury.

    There's more, but the RIAA is going to have a very tough time in court on this one.

    • by CodeBuster (516420) on Tuesday June 26, 2007 @01:26AM (#19645913)
      The MAFIAA will attempt to drag this out as long as possible (10-20 years probably) all the while dangling a settlement worth tens of millions of dollars in front of her. It would take a *very* principled person to go through that, even though she is in the right, while forgoing all of that money in the meantime for an uncertain reward (the legal system sometimes delivers surprises after all). It may be impossible for her anyway unless she gets some legal help from the likes of EFF or Groklaw behind her to see the case through to the end. I would like to see the MAFIAAs toes held to the fire as much as anyone, but as the parent has said this is a shady organization that resorts to questionable tactics. I wouldn't put it past them to engage in a campaign of threatening phone calls, scary surveillance people, and assorted harassments (ala the big tobacco lawsuits) to 'convince' her to accept the settlement. If I were her, I would be seeking some dependable bodyguards to fend off the MAFIAA goon squads.

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